This is a comment I posted at our member Andrew Peters' blog APLink (http://www.aplink.wordpress.com
) in response to his post concerning the Association's partnership with Altadyn (www.3dxplorer.com
). In his post, Andrew wonders how the community will reach to the partnership and whether the Association ought to remain "neutral in its activities."
This is one that I have struggled with quite a bit i.e. whether the Association’s development of a virtual environment for its members suggests a bias or, as you say, that the Association is not “neutral in its activities.”
This is where I come out: An Association striving to further the medium of virtual worlds needs (i) to use the medium itself as an important part of its activities and (ii) to provide a way for outsiders to experience why it is that virtual worlds are so important. Without its own virtual environment, the Association could not easily hold regular events, interact with its members, or provide a place for its members (who come from every sort of virtual environment out there) to socialize and do business with one another. Similarly, one of the most important missions of the Association is outreach. Without its own environment, how could the Association engage in the outreach needed to demonstrate that virtual worlds are an extraordinary medium?
So, we conclude that the Association needs a virtual environment and one of its own, because it could not be an Association for all worlds if its headquarters were based in one of them.
Now, here’s why we chose Altadyn. What Altadyn does is provide a toolset for the development of 3D webpages (3Dxplorer). I’m not a tech expert, but I know enough to understand that this is a very different kind of virtual ‘world’ than many of the ones we all know and love. With the 3D webpage, the Association can both offer its members a place to meet with each other, and for industry outsiders, who today only know “surfing the web,” an accessible experience at the click of a link i.e. the current paradigm.
In short, we chose to offer an “entry point” or a “gateway” on the theory that once people experience immersion in 3D on-line — presence, co-presence, sitting next to a colleague 10,000 miles away as if she were “really there”, they will be looking for more. And when they do, they will seek out the worlds that have joined the Association.
Whether you agree or disagree with my analysis, you can be sure that this was thought out long and hard.